Today hasn’t been a terribly eventful day though I did get in some reading and tasty food. Plantains for breakfast always makes the morning a little bit more welcoming. Kathy and I went to church this morning and then to the market afterward. We didn’t need to buy anything but walking around on market day is always fun. Kathy delivered some pictures she’d printed off for people. We also saw a delicious-looking, sugary, pink treat. It was like unbaked meringue with a slight coconut flavor. Kathy said she’d just try some of mine. I said “nope” and bought one for each of us. Though I must confess, I bought her one because I didn’t want to share, not because I’m a generous person. Shame on me. She took a few bites and decided it was way too sweet. Being the sugar queen I decided to eat both of them. I figured that ought to ward off my sugar cravings till the afternoon.
Lunch today was several shrimp that Cecilia had bought fresh from the market. She put some kind of seasoning on it which I liked. As usual, the shrimp came in its shell with legs, tail, and eyes. I was still a bit hungry after lunch so I ate one of the guavas that I bought at the market. It was white inside and Cecilia told me it wasn’t quite as good as the pink ones, but I was just excited to be eating fresh guava. They smelled delicious and tasted pretty good too. I love eating fresh fruit. I ate a fresh banana today as well.
Later on I did some laundry: a couple shirts and a pair of pants. I need to explain here that when I say I’m doing laundry it’s usually just a couple pieces of clothing. Since all clothes are washed by hand it makes no sense to wait until the end of the week to do all the laundry. Pretty much no one here does laundry that way. It would take too long and there wouldn’t be enough room on the lines for it all to dry. It’s best to do laundry a little bit at a time. Also remember that we’ve got limited water from day to day. We can only refill the pila (which is where the laundry water comes from) every other day when the water is running from about 6-9am. If we did all the laundry in one day, it wouldn’t leave us with much water which we need to do dishes.
I finished up the second book Kathy had loaned me call “From Grandmother to Granddaughter: Salvadoran Women’s Stories” by Michael Gorkin, Marta Pineda, and Gloria Leal. Definitely a must read for those interested in El Salvador. The book is based on intimate interviews of nine Salvadoran women from different generations. The authors interviewed three different families, each of a different social class (lower, middle, upper). Included in the life histories is information about their childhood, family life, education, marriage, having children, politics, religion, and the civil war in El Salvador. Reading about their lives has given more meaning to all that I have learned about the country. The caliche (Salvadoran slang) that’s used in daily life here is used in the book as well. Their personal stories give more context to events such as Archbishop Romero’s death, the civil war, and the Peace Accords. It has also given me a much better feel for what life is like here for the different social classes and the logic behind their attitudes.
It has been great to spend time reading about El Salvador while I’m here. I think the books are helping me to make a stronger connection to the people and culture. Through reading books about El Salvador, talking to people here, asking Kathy endless questions, and spending 6 weeks in Berlín has easily more than tripled what I know. I have started another book Kathy loaned me called, “The Massacre at El Mozote” by Mark Danner. I know this will be a powerful, heartbreaking read. I think having visited the massacre site twice and watching Rufina Amaya’s testimony will make the book even more meaningful. I’m debating whether or not I should read it before going to bed at night. I like reading before bed, but I think it may be a bit much to handle at night. I guess we’ll see. I’ll let you know tomorrow. To read about the El Mozote massacre that occurred in 1981 and my experiences there go to my blog from 2-15-10 entitled El Mozote & Perquin.